The play I directed has one more weekend of performances. Friday Saturday Sunday and then it’s over. Gone forever.
I like to think that even something as quicksilver as a live presentation never actually expires – that somewhere in the great ether the performances of this play will continue to exist. Perhaps contained within some ubiquitous 4th dimensional equivalent of a television set I can see it again, if I can only figure out how to tune in the correct channel.
No no. There are some plays I’ve directed that a God of true mercy has allowed to fade into a so well deserved oblivion – being far more a product of vanity than any real or perceived talent.
Some plays live better in memory. Maybe most plays. (Okay. All plays.) After a number of years and lies they take on a patina that hides imperfections. They become benchmarks, icons, and, like the mighty H.M.S. Titanic, the romance of the image becomes far more desirable than the rusted relic itself.
Still and yet there was something different about this one.
I joined the company late. This was a first for me. I wasn’t, in fact, scheduled to direct it at all. The director hired for the production literally dropped out at the last minute, and I was asked to take the job two hours before the first rehearsal was scheduled to begin. (Fortunately I had directed the play once before – years ago, and had wisely kept all my notes.) (You could also read this as “I never throw anything away.” See? I TOLD you …)
I remember going to that first rehearsal, and being introduced to the cast and the Stage Manager. There we were, seven cast members and two crew, pieces of a puzzle in anticipation of assembly.
In retrospect I will admit to being lucky. The cast was – is – both collectively and individually talented. The play was – is – BLITHE SPIRIT, by Noel Coward. And, although it was considered sparkling repartee when it was written in 1940, today it can appear to be formidably long and wordy. The performers captured it perfectly, with no seeming great effort whatsoever. They uncovered the style, even the nuances of a form of comedy that no longer exists. I was impressed. More than that, the presentation often gave me shivers. I was observing living breathing history.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, even the setting seemed to take on a life and charm. It was a basic box set, with walls and floor painted white. Yet, when it was completed, it seemed less a utilitarian theatre setting and more like an artwork, quite capable of standing alone. Every time I found an excuse to be on that stage I felt like I was in the middle of a Maxfield Parrish painting. I never tired of being there.
In retrospect, then, this effort has been the main focus of my life for the better part of two months. And now it’s almost finished.
Perhaps I’m looking for closure of a sort. No pictures here, no bells, no whistles. Just words, a reminder to myself that I haven’t seriously written anything in quite a while. People who are dear to me, who have seen the show - they are reminders that I led quite a different life two months ago, and – if somewhat impatiently – it’s waiting for me to catch up.
And I shall. There’s a mountain of work waiting for me. And I’m looking forward to it.
In another town not terribly far from here another theatre company has added ON GOLDEN POND to their schedule, and are starting their director search.
I’ve always wanted to direct that show.
It couldn’t hurt anything to just send them a resume.
I mean … you know …
We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
And how was your day?
On my own, with all of my falls.
3 years ago